Darryl George, a 17-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School near Houston, was suspended for wearing locs on Aug. 31. George was told his hairstyle violated the district’s dress code policy, which bars male students from having hair extending past their eyebrows and earlobes, even if it is pulled back.
School officials put the student on in-school suspension for refusing to cut his locs. According to Insider, he returned to school two weeks later with his hair tied and was suspended again. The 17-year-old’s family plans to file a lawsuit against the school for racial discrimination and violation of the CROWN Act.
“Darryl’s hair is spiritual; his hair is a connection to his ancestors. His hair is a connection to God,” Dr. Candice Matthews, a civil rights activist helping his family, told the news outlet.
George’s locs were woven with his father’s, stepdad’s and brother’s hair.
“Cutting it off is cutting him off from them, too,” she said.
The suspension was issued the same week the CROWN Act was enacted on Sept. 1. in Texas. The law, “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” prohibits hair discrimination in school and the workplace. So far, 24 states have enacted the law, according to the AP. On the federal level, it passed in the House of Representatives but was unsuccessful in the Senate.
His mother, Darresha George, said she plans to notify Child Protective Services about her son’s suspension conditions.
“Daryl is sitting on a stool, a stool in a cubby,” she told Insider. “That’s what conditions he’s in. He’s got to sit on the stool for eight hours, back hurting, and can’t move.”
She added that her son wasn’t given a cafeteria lunch but a sandwich and water bottle. She noted his grades are falling because he lacks proper instruction.
“If I were to make my children sit on a stool for eight hours, I would have an issue with CPS,” Allie Booker, an attorney representing the George family, said. “And so that’s also the next step is that we’re going to contact Child Protective Services because the conditions that he is in inside of that room are not proper. He doesn’t even have a desk.”
Black HS student Darryl George received a week-plus suspension over his loc hairstyle — just days AFTER Texas’ CROWN Act went into effect! That law bans discrimination based on a student’s hair texture or protective hairstyle, including locs and braids! https://t.co/Ap0d3kKypw
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 13, 2023
Darresha noted the emotional toll the suspension has taken on her son.
“He’s going to keep fighting, but it’s tearing him down,” she said. “He’s up every night. He has tears in his eyes every day. He’s emotionally and physically drained behind this.”
The AP reported the school garnered national attention with a similar case in 2020 when administrators told a Black student he had to cut his locs if he wanted to return to school and participate in graduation.